Do you know how healthy listening to music can be? Well, Kanye West is right: Music is medicine. It’s like a miracle pill that can draw lots of benefits. Not just to your health but also to your overall being.
Backed up by science through rigid clinical and scientific studies, these research findings have strengthened the effectiveness of music therapy in dealing with various mental health conditions, being used as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief, and acting as a reliable regulating or calming agent for anxiety.
McGill University Professor and Neuropsychologist Daniel Levitin, Ph.D. studies the neuroscience of music and how music affects one’s mental and physical health. In his “This Is Your Brain on Music” book, he discusses how different kinds of music can certainly alter how people feel or even how fast their heart beats.
Though most of us already know that music affects our brains and our health, others still look for concrete evidence as to how music can alter brain chemistry and affect mood. So, to help you get convinced that listening to music is more than just a “stress reliever,” we pull off some of the surprising benefits of music therapy and how it can improve your life in general.
It promotes positive heart health
With an increasing number of deaths caused by CVDs (cardiovascular diseases) globally, you need something that can help you improve your heart health. For one, listening to music makes your body respond unconsciously. Music has been shown to improve blood pressure levels and influence heart rate. It can also alleviate anxiety, and increase comfort, which directly leads to stabilizing blood pressure.
American singer-songwriter and pianist Billy Joel once said “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
It boosts mood, energy, and motivation levels
Recent studies suggest that you try singing – no matter how good (or not) you are at singing – if you want to take the positive effects of listening to music to another level. It is one of the most effective ways to shift the vibrations of your thoughts. This also helps in regulating breathing and promoting relaxation.
Choose a song that you know will calm and put you in a better mood. Bear in mind that as much as music can relax and inspire you, going for the wrong music can agitate you and add to your stress. Typically slower and more pattern-oriented music can help regulate and relax your system. On the other hand, more up-tempo music can get you up-and-going. Hence, happier songs can often lighten the mood quickly and likewise bring back fond memories.
You can sing “a capella,” or to a recording while taking a bath, driving the car, or anytime you think you wish or need to do so. Enjoy the feeling of melody moving through you and see the difference it can bring. You can also opt to hum a lullaby before you go to sleep.
It relieves stress
Aside from the calming effect it has, listening to music also decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. This hormone counteracts the effects of chronic stress.
And since stress causes a whopping 60 percent of all illnesses and diseases, this finding has been very helpful and essential.
One study found out that if people actively participate in making music by playing various music instruments and singing, they get to boost their immune system, especially if they listen passively.
Experts also advise that if you want to stay calm, turn on the radio or your iPod. Feel free to sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit.
Music has the ability to quickly shift our mood. It affects our subconscious mind where those irksome negative thoughts feed on our fears and heighten levels of stress. And now that we all know the wonders of music therapy, who else would not love music? Remember that listening to music is a relatively inexpensive, quick-acting solution that’s almost always available.